FG announces closure of Abuja airport, Kaduna ready, airlines shun new move
The Federal Government has formally announced the closure of the Abuja airport to traffic while declaring open and ready for business the Kaduna airport. However, the closure has come with a high price as only one foreign airline, Ethiopian airline, has agreed to use the Kaduna International Airport.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, told journalists that the Abuja airport will be closed beginning from 12 a.m. Wednesday. The closure is expected to last for six weeks to allow for a comprehensive maintenance of the airport runway.
International airlines had upon the announcement of the closure sounded their intent not to use the alternative Kaduna International airport for reasons bordering on security.
Meanwhile, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) say the Kaduna International Airport is now set for international operations.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the organisation has installed all safety equipment needed for the operation.
“All the things we need for international operations are on ground. What is important actually is the safety equipment for the landing of the aircraft.
“We have seen the runway is good, the Instrument Landing System (ILS) has been installed and the terminal building is ready.
“The contractor has been directed by the Acting President to redouble his effort so that the remaining items of work that are remaining should be completed before the commencement of the international operations in Kaduna.
“I think this is one of the luckiest airports; they have five generators as standby power supply. So we have more than enough,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Fola Akinkuotu, Managing Director of NAMA, told NAN that once the Abuja Airport was closed, NAMA would deploy the mobile tower from the airport to Kaduna to complement what is already on ground.
He said that NAMA management had certified the capability of Kaduna Airport, adding that its engineers have done a good job on it.
“As far as this (Kaduna) airport is concerned, NAMA management, we are very satisfied that we have done a good job.
“At the inception of the project, the ILS (Instrument Landing System) was not accessible but as of today, I can tell you that not only have we installed a brand new ILS, we have also calibrated it.
“We have a calibration certificate from a UK concern.
“On the facilities for landing, like I said, the ILS which comprises the glide scope and localizer have been calibrated and they have been found satisfactory like 10 on 10.
“Apart from that, we also have the approach light that actually complement and make sure that they have the ILS.’’